Our current pollution prevention policies are static in a time of great and rapid disruption driven by the climate crisis. The growing risk of harm from climate-driven industrial pollution and chemical disasters demands a just, innovative policy response. In our November 18 toxic floodwaters webinar, participants learned about the legal and policy challenges to addressing these hazards, as well as litigation and regulatory solutions proposed by leading experts and practitioners.
Big Tobacco’s Master Settlement Agreement in 1998 was the largest civil settlement in the nation’s history and a transformative moment in the industry’s control. The accord reached by 46 states, five United States territories, and the District of Columbia required tobacco manufacturers to pay the states billions of dollars annually in compensation for the public health crisis their products had created. Today, an even bigger crisis looms, with increasing demands for accountability. Over a dozen federal cases have now been filed against oil companies, seeking damages for their role in causing climate change. With one exception, the cases have been brought by states or local governments that claim they and their citizens are suffering harm from climate change.
A week after taking office, President Joe Biden issued an executive order “on tackling the climate crisis” that includes important measures to address the crisis comprehensively and equitably. Specifically, the order directs the federal government to take a “whole of government” approach to the climate crisis that pursues economic security, ensures environmental justice, and empowers workers. The beginning of such a plan is promising, particularly after four years under an administration that wiped the word “climate” from government websites, rolled back the Obama administration’s steps to address the crisis, and made fossil fuel production a centerpiece of its agenda. But it’s just that — a promising beginning. And it’s already under assault.
The Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) is seeking an energetic, organized, and dedicated researcher to join our staff as a Climate Justice Policy Analyst (California). We welcome candidates with a deep commitment to progressive environmental and economic policies designed to address racial inequities.
Commitments to ensure an equitable clean energy transition are gaining traction, with some states dedicating a portion of clean energy funding to historically marginalized communities and the Biden-Harris administration proposing to dedicate 40 percent of federal climate funds to achieving climate justice. These commitments are essential to realizing an energy transition for communities that would otherwise be left further behind and can help alleviate longstanding inequities. As these initiatives take shape, CPR is tapping the expertise of our climate and environmental justice scholars[BG1] and our body of work on climate justice. Over the next two years, we'll dig into the California example, researching the state's track record in implementing climate justice programs.
A week after taking office, President Joe Biden issued an executive order “on tackling the climate crisis” that aims to face the challenge comprehensively and equitably. Biden has quickly appointed and seen confirmed a team of leaders who are committed to all aspects of this mission. Our country is finally on the cusp of meaningful climate action. The climate action train is so popular that even fossil fuel companies, which have historically sought to derail it, are now saying they’re on board. We should, of course, welcome all sincere collaborators; the fossil fuel industry is not among them.